Kedda with an update on the new Suite101

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Kedda with an update on the new Suite101

Postby Riggy » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:51 pm

Here's the forum thread: ... w-suite101

And for those who don't have access, the post from Michael Kedda (on June 25):

In January this year, with a major company reshuffle still fresh, we set out to rebuild We're getting close to that goal now, and wanted to give everyone a glimpse at the near future as it appears from Vancouver.

We've always been a relatively progressive, collaborative publisher, and a platform for widely diverse interests. With this first effort from the new crew, we hope to solidify as one of the most eclectic, active, informative places on the web.

The new site will differ from the old in many ways you'll catch immediately. We'll be much less ad-heavy, less cluttered. You won't find rigid categories, but rather a great search function, a rich underlying taxonomy, and (the part we're really excited about) editorially coherent channels -- created and managed by you.


You'll be able to form or join a channel around almost any topic you choose. You'll get to set its purpose and editorial mandate, write, find and add articles, invite (or banish) other members, moderate discussions. You'll control its direction.

These are not like anything we've done before -- in parts magazine, microsite, guided tour, interest group. Channels are a way to connect with like-minded people, make a statement, showcase talent, curate and contextualize material.

They're also the backbone of the new site. In fact, new articles will not be publicly accessible until they are pitched and accepted into channels. Old articles from today's Suite101 get a free pass; they may be included in channels but will remain online even if they're not.

Who does what?

Our contribution to the editorial shape of will span help and guidance, mediation, and defense against theft, spam, dangerous advice, defamation and other bad things. The overarching rules we're finishing off now are designed to balance editorial freedom with high standards: we want contributors to feel a sense of pride in the new site.

Just as we hope that focused groups will make a better proving ground for great ideas, so we hope that more engaged, concentrated communities will offer contributors a better chance at real influence. So no large counts, badges and notches of status; instead real exposure (and an opportunity to shine) among your peers, in niches snugly fit to your needs.

From the start, our community structure will be a simple one:

Members will be able to sign in with their Facebook or Twitter accounts and participate in discussions.
Contributors will be able to write articles, add images and videos, and create channels. To become a contributor, a member will have to apply and be approved.
Copyeditors/proofreaders will be just like other contributors but will be able to edit and provide feedback on articles. They'll be carefully selected for editorial acumen and humility. See something wrong? Just flag it, and someone will swoop in to fix the problem. Need help perfecting an article? You'll be able to ask someone to take a look.
Site moderators will keep the peace, vet new channels, evaluate new contributors, and offer assistance to anyone in need.
Admins will work to promote great channels, contributors, articles, and will take your cues on how to evolve the platform further.

Revenue sharing model

Suite101 will still be an advertising-funded site, with a payment structure geared to reward great contributors who produce work audiences love.

Writing articles that happen to attract lucrative advertising shouldn't affect how much money a contributor gets paid. We believe in a clear division between editorial and monetization, an almost sacred feature of traditional journalism: as soon as an article's content is directly related to advertising, it subverts the writing to serve the advertiser rather than the reader.

So, in an effort to put readers first, our new system breaks the tie between advertising and article revenue. Instead, all revenue we make will be pooled, split down the middle -- and we'll pay out writers based on the size and faithfulness of their audience. Writers with the best, most read articles, who develop the biggest following, will be paid the most.

What in the world are we thinking? In entrepreneurial jargon, we're thinking a little more about lifetime value. That is, we believe a writer's value -- and the value they add to the site -- is poorly measured by the number of ad clicks their articles generate. Instead, we'd like to pay more attention to a writer's ability to create loyal audiences and inspire conversation -- to keep readers coming back. These are the kind of things that will keep's community and readership thriving for years to come.

How exactly will we measure the zest of your audience? With some thought and due care. Every contributor will have a score, visible only to themselves, that translates to a sort of readership index aggregating many different signs of engagement -- things like (but not limited to) unique pageviews, the duration of average visits, the number of readers coming from places other than search, the number of channel subscribers, the number of comments.

Advertising model

Our advertising model itself cares a little more for long-term value. In order to give readers a great experience they'll want to return to, we'll go much easier on the ads, especially targeted text ads, across the whole site. Less pulp will be squeezed from each visit, yes, but over time visitors will trust us more, and we'll build up a better following.

We're running tests right now on some of these new, more feel-good layouts. Brad will talk more about these in the days ahead.

Search Engine Optimization SEO Search Optimization Google

The new will maintain a relationship with search engines that is, we think, much healthier than in the past (when the site relied on heavy production and aggressive, often unnatural use of keywords to bring in search traffic). We think it's smarter to just build a great product, be relevant, and forget about search. That, not to mention smarter semantic markup, intuitive page structure, and standards compliance, is the SEO strategy in a nutshell.

We want to grow, sure, but primarily because a collaborative model like ours will work much better if we do. Writers will be able to get more feedback from their peers. Discussions will be deeper, debates louder, choices more varied.

Under the hood

I'll keep this brief! To build another, we've chosen to completely abandon the mostly ColdFusion-based system (and its underlying Microsoft SQL database and a smattering of .NET and Ruby on Rails applications). Capable technologies on their own, but a brittle, cranky hodge-podge the way we had them.

The new is built on Drupal (a popular open source content management system) and MySQL, and will be hosted through Acquia's excellent Amazon EC2-based Managed Cloud service.

This has been an extremely complex, immensely challenging top-to-bottom reconstruction, and we're proud of what the team have accomplished so far. It will be with a mixture of relief and jubilation that we open the doors in the weeks ahead.

What to expect

This week: we're excited about inviting Michael V in to check things out, poke at the designs, ask questions and eat some noodles with us.
First half of July: we'll open up our staging site to a much wider beta test group, which will help smooth out rough edges and refine the new product. This is also when we plan to put into position our full-scale, go-live architecture -- so we expect this to be an exhilarating but stressful period.
End of July: we'll turn off publishing features and make the old read-only. At this point, the switchover will be very close. We'll import old data, turn the lights on and off a few times, shoo away some bugs, and take the leap. During this period, our community site will sport a calm little countdown clock. Forums will remain open for business, and we'll update you on progress daily. Some of you will be able to put some touches on a handful of early, trailblazing channels.
August: launch will be a soft, unassuming one. When we're confident the systems are ready, we'll flip the switch. We'll rub our eyes, bang together a few glasses of Champagne, and start into a couple weeks' worth of troubleshooting. We'll be hovering around from the beginning, offering guidance and doing what we can to ease the transition. We plan to keep the doors closed to new contributors until a few weeks after launch.
We're on track, but with an approaching office move, several more rounds of usability testing, and the sheer complexity of the new site, we think it's prudent to aim for a launch after the London Olympics.

Remember, this is just the beginning. A long list of new features beckons that will add to the base we're packing now: debates, standalone images and videos, greater integration with other platforms. Expect continued improvements for the foreseeable future.

Thanks to everyone for being there, taking part, and keeping us focused on why we're doing it.
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Re: Kedda with an update on the new Suite101

Postby archie » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:37 am

LOL they are moving to Drupal and MySQL, because it's cheap.

They gonna get hacked. That's my vision of the future. LOL
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Re: Kedda with an update on the new Suite101

Postby realwicked » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:06 pm

archie wrote:LOL they are moving to Drupal and MySQL, because it's cheap.

They gonna get hacked. That's my vision of the future. LOL

HEE HEE :twisted:
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Re: Kedda with an update on the new Suite101

Postby archie » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:17 pm

OMG Your siggy brings back memories from the 1990s. Shit those were the dayssss.
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